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his whole life, and I find nothing but a bow and a grin. I take him to pieces and I find silk stockings, padding, stays, a coat with frogs and a fur collar, a star and a blue ribbon, a pocket handkerchief prodigiously scented, one of Truefit's best nutty brown wigs reeking with oil, a set of teeth, and a huge black stock, under-waistcoats, more under-waistcoats, and then — nothing." It was a career as much lower as it was meaner than that of his rival and abused friend Brummel, who gave all his mind and life to the perfection of his dress, spent hours on the tie of his cravat, and was ruined by his laundry bill. Pity that you cannot always look beneath the padding of life as did the satirist beneath the padding of George Fourth. Why can we not stand outside for a little, or underneath, and see it as it is? Before plunging into the turmoil, it is worth while for a young man to pause and consider well what life is worth living. Do the experiences of the past with all their recorded dissatisfactions and disappointments encourage him to choose any sphere of labor or to labor in any sphere with the sole and single purpose of concentrated selfseeking? Nay, but he will find at last that he has reversed the very order of nature, spinning indeed his cocoon, but perishing within as a grub. It has been the same story from Solomon to Chesterfield, from Saul to the last Napoleon :
“We barter life for pottage; sell true bliss
For wealth and power, for pleasure or renown;
Then wash with fruitless tears our faded crown."
It is the experience from which come all these pitiful wails about human life: “ Vanity of vanities"; "When I consider life, 't is all a cheat"; "Life is a jest, and all things show it"; "Life is tedious as a twice-told tale”; “Life is a short summer”; “O life, thou art a galling load.”
“ Life 's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his brief hour on the stage,
How like a voice from a different universe - a voice from heaven - sounds the Pauline strain : “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” From the standpoint of the men that make them, those indictments are verily true. A life apart from God and ignoring our higher nature and our immortality is nothing but vanity. Humanity in its sober hours responds. The popularity and power of Longfellow's Psalm of Life lie not in any poetic beauty, but in its terse, prosaic truth.
It is well in choosing the life-work to seek that which has most for mind and heart and the closest hold on the highest welfare of man. But there is no walk of life in which we may not walk with God, no honest calling that may not be his call. A true manhood will always be larger than any vocation or avocation and will be neither bound nor bounded by its lines. There have been multitudes of spiritual men in the most mechanical of callings — farmers who have been God's
reapers ; day laborers who, even by the side of the gospel ministry, have been workmen not needing to be ashamed; medical men who have ministered to the mind and heart diseased; counselors-at-law who have been advocates for Christ; a shepherd of Salisbury Plain in fullest sympathy with the shepherd king of Israel and the Good Shepherd our Lord. While the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, money may be the agent of all manner of blessing. And though money-making, sheer and simple, is not a high work, many a money-maker has gladdened the world.
Personal qualities, opening opportunity, and providential pressure determine what we are to do. Our free choice determines how we are to do it. honest calling there is room for a man, or a corner for a manikin. It may be the grinding business man, the mechanical manufacturer, the law-perverting advocate, the reckless journalist, the tricky politician, or, in a humbler way, a merchant like Amos Lawrence or William E. Dodge, a manufacturer like Appleton or Williston, a teacher like Tholuck, Arnold, or Hopkins, a lawyer like John Marshall, a journalist like Bryant, a legislator like Wilberforce or Shaftesbury, a statesman like Lincoln or Gladstone. The career of such men is beyond our dreams, but the character is within our reach. And it is never to be forgotten that, in whatever sphere, it is character that tells, and the want of character that kills - character in its simplicity and dignity, character in its decision and power.
Here hinges the righteous verdict of posterity. The glamor of spurious success fades away, the clamor of detraction dies out, and true manhood, divine manhood, stands forth at last to receive the homage of mankind. Among its myriads of forgotten celebrities, history will never cease to linger lovingly on such names as Alfred and Washington, Howard and Livingstone. Nor these historic men alone, but
“ Meek souls there are who little dream
Their daily strife an angel's theme;
And thus it appears that the higher the aim the surer the attainment. Outer circumstance is contingent and evanescent; inner worth is certain and eternal. Excellence is infinitely more than excelling. It is the prize, thank God! that can be won. He that enters his special life-work with the purpose to fill it full of fidelity, beneficence, and love is the man whose life can never be a failure in the eye of God or man.
And the highest of all aims, which can be carried into every sphere of life, is that of the apostle himself, “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Some, to whom the grace is given, are enabled to see that the highest aim in the highest sphere is attained when they follow him in the gospel ministry, and some even in the missionary work. It was the cry of such a one: “My soul is not at rest. The voice of my departed Lord, 'Go teach all nations,' comes on the night air and awakes mine ear. And I will go. Through ages of eternal years my spirit never shall repent that toil and victory once were mine below."
Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : I have endeavored to set before you the guaranties of a true and noble life. But they have been far more effectively set forth in many an actual life history from the time of him who uttered these burning words and lived that noble life. One bright example is worth a thousand precepts, and the world has been brightened with thousands of examples. You may well thank God that he has not only placed before you such an ideal, but that he offers the aid whereby the ideal may become real in any life. Say not : “It is high, I cannot attain unto it.” Say rather : “It is high; with God's help I can attain unto it, and I will.” You will encounter no end of discouragements. Openly or silently the world will say, or seem to say, that the whole notion is visionary; that no man follows or can follow such an ideal; that all men are selfish; that life is but a strife for existence, position, precedence, and the like. And, what is worse, you will encounter human selfishness in such innumerable forms and such unexpected quarters as almost to make the words seem true. But they are false, and death is in them. Believe them not.
Believe them not. Heed them not.. Like that other pilgrim, stop your ears, and run for the shining light. “Keep it in your eye, and go up directly thereto.”
Each of you carries to-day in his heart and in his hand the whole life he is to live. It is all before you